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The number hadn't stopped talking since she'd been dragged from the path of an incoming bullet and shoved into the back of a stolen SUV. Questions and more questions, asked in a tone that was just shy of a shriek, had been followed by a calmer tone, but yet more questions: who's trying to kill me? Where did you come from? Are you my guardian angels? Do you ever smile? Can we stop for a bathroom break? You don't talk much do you? Is that a glock? Is he your boyfriend? Are the restraints really necessary? Do you have any mints? Who does your hair? Is that a taser? Where are we going?
After the first ten minutes Sameen Shaw was ready to commit murder. After the next ten she'd decided on method and disposal site. Ten minutes after that she was being restrained by John and a petrified looking Harold. Ninety-three seconds after that Fusco drove the car into an underground garage and hastily announced the end of their journey.
Mary, the number, had a new set of questions relating to their current location, Shaw's sudden disappearance, the new brunette who appeared from out of nowhere, the funky smell in the elevator and many, many more. Shaw escaped before she had to listen to too many of them, but the perimeter of their makeshift safehouse was too small for her checks to last all day.
"You're back?" Even the statement was turned into a question as Mary zeroed in on Shaw who had somehow become her favourite target. "Have you met Root? Isn't it a funny name? I think she looks more like an Elizabeth, what do you think? Is she his girlfriend? Is that why you and tall, dark and handsome aren't together?"
Shaw looked to Root hoping the other woman would join in the conversation and keep her from having to answer or commit murder. Root, of course, just smiled pleasantly and waited for Shaw's response. "Yes, I'm back." Her look turned into a glare at Root's continued silence. "Yes, I've met Root, and yes it is a silly name, but it suits her better than Elizabeth, and no she's not John's girlfriend, she's mine, and that's one of the many reasons John and I aren't together."
John, Harold and Fusco stopped what they were pretending to do and turned to observe Shaw; none of them quite brave enough to question whether or not she'd meant to officially declare her relationship with Root as something more than casual lust fulfilment or whatever the hell it had been before.
Root's smile grew but she continued to remain uncharacteristically silent; the same could not be said for their number: so, are you one of those lesbians? Or maybe one of those pam people I heard about? Do you know Ellen? Is it true about those multiple orgasms? Do you plan on getting married? Is she your first?
"Yeah," said Fusco, too caught up in the avalanche of questions to fear for his safety, "I'd like an answer to some of those too."
Shaw's scowl transferred from Root, to Mary, to Fusco in quick succession. "None of your business," she seethed. Undeterred, Mary turned to Root, and was just about to unleash her next set of questions on the hacker when Shaw hastily interrupted, suddenly afraid of what a talkative Root might divulge under pressure. "No, it's pan not pam, no again, yes, I don't know, and finally, yes."
"Yes?" It was Root's turn to pose a question while John and Fusco tried to pair the previous questions to their answers and Harold tried to pretend he was somewhere else, while simultaneously memorising every word, facial expression and movement for later study.
Shaw shrugged. "The first that's mattered."
Root smiled bashfully, but any further action or comment on her part was physically pushed to one side as Mary threw herself at Shaw for what the number believed was a friendly embrace. It took John, Fusco, Harold and Root ten minutes to persuade, bribe and beg Shaw into not pulling the trigger. Another thirty before she eased back on her choke hold.
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